Best Of Sandy’s HBS & Stanford Ding Report


Dinged By Harvard, Stanford & Duke


  • 690 GMAT
  • 74th percentile of class
  • Undergraduate degree from a top commerce college in India, Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi
  • Work experience includes two years at McKinsey & Co. as an analyst and nine months at a sports agency where I won an early promotion; also co-founder of a startup in the sports industry
  • Extracurricular involvement as captain of an athletic team; won scholarships throughout and led a student organization
  • Currently enrolled in a masters program (it is highly selective and well renowned in India)
  • “I enrolled in this masters fellowship to get a better sense of the socio political situation in India as I am interested in the grassroots development of sports. However, I feel a MBA from an international school will do me well as I want an accelerated learning environment as well as the networking opportunities (which will hopefully help in eventual funding). Working for a few years in consumer products firm also excites me immensely.”
  • Goal: To create my own sports management firm in India
  • “Do you suggest I need to wait a few years and retake the GMAT?”
  • 24-year-old female from India

Sandy’s Analysis: Bunch of small things could have caused your rejection. Your low-ish GMAT for HBS and Stanford, your degree from a non-feeder Indian college. I’m not sure how to judge grades, what was your class standing? Not sure what to make of sports agency, or how selective it was. Being back in school now is odd, and may damage your job narrative. Are you still employed? Your timeline is confusing and annoying.

Dings by H and S totally expected for all the above, Duke was in the running, if your execution was clear, but just too many open questions for me to get down and dirty with this. Sorry but Harvard and Stanford are unlikely with this DNA so far, and that is not likely to change.

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